Our 2016 travel Wish List


running free
The boys running free in Tenby earlier this year

Well 2015 was pretty action packed, not only did we introduce Baby G into the world but we also took him on his first overseas trip to the Netherlands when he was just shy of 4 months old, a trip which involved many trains, trams, underground, buses and an over night ferry from Harwick to the Hoek of Holland as we embraced slow travel. We also spent some time on a beautiful organic farm in Somerset and enjoyed a fair few city breaks with our favourites being London (we do a big tip there each year) and Bath as well as spending some much needed relaxing time in West Wales mainly around Tenby, Narberth and exploring Bluestone. We also crammed some camping and festivals in over the summer and glamping in Sussex this Autumn. Our time was spent discovered castles, exploring National trust properties and embraced us changing from a family of 3 to a family of four.

Family travel
Mr A in Cannes 

A New year means a whole new set of plans, we found 2015 a bit of a teething time for us going from a family of three to a family of four and learning how to travel with not just one but two young children, but now we feel confident and have a lot more overseas travel plans running around our brains for 2016.

1. Copenhagen - both John and I have had the Danish capital on our "must-visit" list for years and we hope to make it happen this year, especially as it's know for being very family friendly. It's also the perfect destination for interior lovers as it captures the Scandi style perfectly. 

2. Isles of Scilly - we plan to spend more time exploring Cornwall this year as well as making the ferry crossing the the cluster of islands of Lands end that make up the Isles of Scilly. With a warmer climate to the rest of the mainland and beautiful flora and fauna because of it, this makes a stunning location that would make you feel like your somewhere in the Med.

3. Taking A Cruise - After doing two overnight ferry trips with the boys we would love to take a longer break by sea this year. We have not fully decided on where we want to explore yet but we have narrowed it down to either the Mediterranean or Scandinavia. I have always dreamt of exploring the Norwegian Fjords by cruise liner and being inspired by the dramatic landscapes.

4. Scotland - I lived in Edinburgh for around 18months as well as spending some time working on the West Coast in the small village of Mallaig before having children. I totally fell in love with the country, especially the highlands and may Isle you can visit with the Isle of Eigg being my favourite and would love to take the boys there to really get away from it all. Edinburgh is also possibly one of the most stunning, friendly and culturally interesting cities and you could easily spend a fortnight exploring the place and I've not been back since having children and need to change that.

5. Lisbon - another city break we have had on our wish list for a few years. Portugal is one of the few countries in Europe either of us have been to yet and it's also the oldest city in Europe predating Rome, Paris and London. The warm climate of course also makes it real attraction.

family travel
Mr A and myself enjoying Amsterdam

6. Cape Town - it really does make my soul a little sad that I have not taken any of the family to my hometown and country I spent 18 years of life in but with something like this we would need to go for longer than the normal holiday break as I would love to spend some time visiting friends and family. Its also not a cheap destination to get too, although reasonable once you are there and between having children, buying and renovating a home and travelling around Europe we have always put it on the back burner a bit although we do hope to visit within the next 18months.

7. Mont Saint-Michel, France - I find this place magical and fascinating and would love to spend next Christmas cozying up in one of only a handful of hotels on this fortified island in Normady with it's beautiful monastery.  

8. Roadtripping - one of my personal goals this year is to finally buy a 1970's campervan, nothing to smart but has a lot of soul so we can explore more of Cornwall, the coast as well as take a drive up to Snowdonia, York and the Lake District.

Exploring in Somerset

9. Festivals festival festivals - each summer we always do at least two festivals. I recently spoke of our love for the Just So Festival which we hope to return to this year, as well as Beyond the Border which happens every two years and we went to in 2014. Other favourites are Wychwood and Camp Bestival and we would also love to try Larmer Tree, Starry Skies and The Green Gathering.

10. Somewhere Exotic - we as many make lots of plans although they sometimes change, we always leave space for the spontaneous travel and we are all craving somewhere hot as the UK weather over the past year has been a bit of a washout. Perhaps a cheap greek holiday or somewhere far-flung like Fiji or Bali.

What are your travel plans for 2016?

Packing my Suitcase
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My design pick of 2015

Bramwell and Brown

I was recently asked by Feathr what my favourite design piece of 2015, which was a really interesting question as I had not thought to pinpoint one product or idea I had seen, especially as independent stores, products, art and creativity had boomed during 2015 it meant it was a pretty hard choice.

I had recently came across these beautiful British Made Barometer weather clocks from Bramwell and Brown, their simply but eye catching design immediately caught my eye paired up with the beautiful mechanical moving art work which visual tells the weather.

Design clock

Feathr put a really interesting article together with the help of 28 interior experts, bloggers and journalists, each sharing their favourite design piece and I have to say I love them all and I cannot wait to see what 2016 has install.

weather clock

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Summer highlight 2015 - Just So Festival


Just So Festival

I have mentioned our summer jaunt to the Just So Festival on the blog but at the end of each year I go through all my photos and reflect on the highlights of the year and realised due to being so busy over the summer with travels, adventures and a new baby that I never did a full and much deserved review post about this amazing family friendly festival.   

natural childhood

Over the summer we paired up with Mamas and Papas who had some super cool festival inspired clothing and accessories and they asked us which festival we would like to try, we always do one or two each year and had only heard positive things about Just So so it seemed like the obvious choice. We are so glad we picked it as even though it was further away than expected it was well worth the drive and cannot wait until August 2016 which we can go back, in fact Mr A refuses to take his wrist band off until we go again.

Just So Festival

festival fun

First of all the setting is perfect with lots of free range fun to be had running through long grass, squelching in mud, making fairy houses in the forest and listening to stories next to the camp fire. One of the highlights for Mr A was pirate training which he really enjoyed as well as learning how to balance stones and play the bongo's.

family festival fun

baby feeding tent

Unlike other festivals we have been to which were music based and basically adult festivals with family friendly features this was a festival for families where workshops, arts & crafts, adventures and storytelling had as much importance as the music. Baby G loved the sensory tent as well as being pampered in the baby bath tent with wonderful Weleda products provided for free. It was also Baby G's first experience of camping, well glamping in our case as we stayed in a bell tent and two out of three of the days were fairly dry except one night was a full on lighting storm which made for some exciting camping.

Just so festival

Just so festival

The festival was just the right size, not too big and not too small and plenty to do as well as catering options for all tastes, we especially liked the corn on the cob stand which provided the perfect savoury treat on the go, which we all gobbled down. When you purchase your tickets you are sent a guide and a CD before the festival, the CD contains songs from each one of the musicians performing over the weekend which is a great idea as all of us listen to the CD loads on the drive up and it got us into full festival mood.

Just so festival

leaf man

There is something so good for the soul when sitting around a campfire with people playing the bass and banjo's, singing, dancing with the ones you love and detaching yourself from everyday stresses. We are pretty seasoned festival goers and Just So is firmly placed on our top picks for family friendly festivals and cannot wait to go in 2016.

Festival tickets have already gone on sale and good news children under 3 go free all weekend and kids are only £50. Do check out the little festival highlight vlog we put together

Thanks so Mamas and Papas and Just So Festival for inviting us
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Big stories, little writers + giveaway



I love anything a bit different, creative and offers a different perspective so when the people at Lost My Name decided to had the reins over to more than 1000 children aged 4-7yrs to write the Amazing Fantastic Year in review newspaper I thought it was a brilliant idea. Covering some of the years major topics but also what popping into their mind such as their opinion on a zombie apocalypse or Princess Charlotte weighing the same as a hedgehog it's guaranteed to be some entertaining reading.

The printed newspaper is being distributed to commuters in 4 major cities - London, New York, Sydney and Toronto meaning it's go international but don't worry you can see the digital version here

So why exactly did they do it? Basically because children and their imagination should inspire us all and should be given a platform to share their thoughts in a productive and creative way. When Lost my Name is not creating kids newspapers they are making personalised story books that put the child at the heart of the adventure and best of all I have two books to giveaway worth £19.99 each.

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5 Reasons to take a family cruise in 2016



This year we decided to visit one of our favourite cities – Amsterdam by taking an overnight ferry from the UK instead of flying with two young kids. We really enjoyed the slower travel aspect of it and found it an extremely enjoyable and stress-free way to take kids overseas and in 2016 would love to take a longer cruise, not only take in some amazing sights, visit some stunning locations but also enjoy a laid-back holiday. Before I had children I took a cargo ship from South Africa to the UK which took 28 days so a cruise ship would be absolutely luxury in comparison. I thought I would put together 5 reasons why we should all consider a cruise in 2016

Good Value – most cruises are all inclusive and cover food, accommodation and all the fun extras such as on-board cinemas, swimming pools and entertainment and transport between destinations, taking out a lot of stress and allowing you to budget easier for on-land excursions. Nearly all ships are also equipped with Wifi, digital TV and things like Laundries, Gyms, Spas and Medical centres should you need them.

Family Friendly – nearly all the big cruise liners are geared towards families and children with an abundance of things to do such as kids clubs, special play areas, qualified staff and an array of dinning options to suit all needs. A lot of cruise liners are huge and are almost like floating cities and you would be hard pressed to become bored with so many amazing things to see and do onboard.

Visit multiple destinations – you can visit a variety of countries with only unpacking once and for those who are a little nervous of flying there are loads of options leaving and returning from UK docks including some very exotic destinations.

Easy to Plan – Cruises take all the hassle of planning everything down to the tee out of the equation as they package together transportation, accommodation and itinerary so you have more time to sit back and chill out with no having to search for hotels or coordinate travel between cities and anything that is going to make a family holiday more simple is fantastic.

Quality time – wether you want to go on a cruise for a cultural experience, a romantic break, a relaxing spa or to get away from daily manic life and spend some time one to one with your family, a cruise is a great way to reconnect and not have to worry about the dishes at the end of the day.

If you book at the start of the year you can also usually bag a deal or pick up a special which can often include an upgrade or extra on-board spending money. We have our eyes open for Cruise deals at the moment as we hope to either hope on-board to see the Norwegian Fjords or head to the sun and the Mediterranean

What do you have planned for 2016?

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Wintery picks for a cosy home



It may have been a very mild start to winter but today sure did feel colder with that fresh snap in the air. It's such a special time of the year, almost Christmas, fireplaces dressed up, the throws out on the sofas and time to make the home nice and cosy. There is something so comforting about going for a wintery walk to come back home to warm house, a cup of hot chocolate and some relaxing time with the family so I thought I would put together a few little things I have my eye on to bring in the cosy feel from now throughout the New year

Cosy home

1. Haden orange throw - Habitat £12
2. Hearthwick Cedar 16oz Candle - Fishpools £22
3. Thermosoft Prisma Red Throw - Fishpools £29
4. Glencoe pillow - Made.com £25
5. Knot Natural knitted Pouf - Habitat £75

This time of the year is all about those simple pleasures, nature fibres, big knits and warming fabrics, with the main aim of being a sense of comfort to these long evenings. I love these two throws with autumnal colours that are not too bright but will bring colour to any room. I always burn candles during the colder months, especially those with a earthy scent so this large Hearthwick candle would be perfect. I have also fallen in love with this Glencoe pillow which is currently on sale as well as this large and fun knitted Pouf.

So put your feet up, get yourself a hot drink and treat yourself to a movie night cuddling the ones you love and getting cosy on these colder winter nights.

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Final Christmas touches for the home


Christmas table

With it being the most wonderful time of the year, here are some Christmas must haves to get your home looking, feeling and smelling festive!

A tree

Whether you like a pine-coned sweet-smelling fir, or a non-dropping vacuum-friendly artificial tree, you can make it look extra special by choosing a colour theme. Red, gold, silver and green are traditional colours, but blue and purple are popular modern alternatives. Choose two colours and stick with them throughout the house. It’s a good idea to pick up decorations in the January sales and pack them away for next year, but for now you can make it special with your children’s decorations or family baubles that your granny treasured. However you choose to decorate your tree, it should be special to you.

Shedding pine needles are a never-ending Christmas battle! To keep real trees alive buy a stand that holds water. You wouldn’t put cut flowers in a dry vase and expect them to live, so extend your tree’s life by positioning it away from radiators and watering it each day.

Christmas Drink

Mulled wine is a classic that never goes out of fashion. Heat some on the hob when visitors are due - it’s guaranteed to make you appear polished and professional, even if you still haven’t wrapped any presents or posted your cards yet.

A Well-Dressed Table

A good quality table-covering will always attract attention. Try a red or blue cloth and dress it with gold and green. A centre-piece is essential, but keep it small otherwise you won’t see your dinner guests and it’ll end up the floor. A stylish candlestick works well with green taper candles, or a small florist’s oasis with holly leaves pushed in.

If you don’t want a table centrepiece why not invest in a fabulous over-table light from the Pirce Artemide range? They’re conversation piece should auntie start ranting inappropriately. And of course, don’t forget your Christmas crackers!

Christmas table setting

Christmas Plants

A small vase of mistletoe or holly on the fireplace is so festive and looks lovely. Of course you can tie up them up too - make bunches and put the over your doorways just in case the Amazon delivery man is good-looking!

Poinsettias give a lovely splash of red and paper-whites or amaryllis set the festive tone. Place your plant under a softly glowing low-light from Lampcommerce to give it centre-stage - it will make a change from all the gaudy flashing reindeer and grinning snowmen that abound in stores this time of year.

If you don’t want real plants then artificial pieces have vastly improved in recent times, plus they’re environmentally friendly year on year. 

A Door Decoration

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a welcoming door decoration. Wreaths are popular whether you hang them on your door or garage door, but you can break the mould if you like! A basket of holly, ivy and sparkly cones on the doorstep looks wonderfully naive.



And speaking of visitors, there are plenty of unexpected door knockers at this time of year. Your home needs some festive snacks to keep them satisfied. Buy or make some Christmas cakes, stollen, mince pies or festive cookies and don’t snack on them until the New Year!

Enjoy your Christmas folks!

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Last Minute must-have Christmas kitchen items



Christmas is the time of the year that everyone in the family looks forward to. It’s a season of happiness, indulging in treats that we usually wouldn’t allow ourselves to and giving presents to those we care about the most. Certain things cause the Christmas cheer to rise in people, and quickly the whole area becomes covered in decorations, as if Santa did them all overnight himself. Here’s some seasonal-themed items that will look fantastic in your kitchen this Christmas, and be worth keeping all year round.

Christmas cookie cutters

Not the most technological item on this list, but everyone will love it when you make cookies in the shape of Santa Claus, snowmen and Christmas trees this season. The Good cook shop has lots of offers on cookie cutters, meaning that you can replace the delicate cutting with stencils, which do all the work but take none of the reward.

Vintage inspired kitchen scales

Despite all the food having multiple pinches of love, not every dish allows for guesstimations in the recipe. Vintage kitchen scales such as this Retro one add a wonderful glow to the room, while also being inexpensive. The scales pay homage to the classic kitchen appliances, looking like they came straight from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’. A fun accessory for any kitchen.

Tassimo Fidelia coffee machine

Parents who have been woken up by kids screaming that Santa has visited them know that on Christmas day there can be nothing better than a nice cup of coffee in the morning. The Tassimo Fidelia coffee machine has a large water tank to make sure everyone gets their caffeine fix without having to worry about pesky refills. Besides, waking up to a creamy cup of coffee in the morning isn’t just for this season, but for every season.

Christmas Tins

Sometimes even the best of food survives that little bit longer, managing to get overlooked by the hungry mouths around the Christmas dinner table. The good news is that whether its cake, vegetables or meat, Christmas food always makes for great leftovers. These tins from Lakeland are perfect to keep a delicious meal safe inside until it’s finally finished. Storing leftover food in these seasonally printed containers means that before it tastes good, it looks good all over again.

Gingerbread house kits

If you are at a lose end of what to do with your little ones in the last few days before Christmas, putting together a Gingerbread house can offer so much fun as well as helping pass the hours. Most supermarkets have some kind of kit in store or like us you could pick one up from Ikea - just make sure to have some icing and sprinkles on hand to help decorate.

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Like father like son



When we found out we were expecting our son many moons ago now John was so excited to be having a boy to pass down his passion for films, books, music and clothes. He wanted to instil that less is more, that a good quality suit will serve you for years to come and plans to pass down his Red Wing boots which are already more than 10yrs old yet the soles are going as strong as the day he bought them.

Mr A is now coming into his own in terms of what he likes and what is comfortable for him to wear. He loves outdoor clothing, hard wearing boots as well as warm winter jumpers. John thought he would share a little wisdom when it comes to essential mens wear tips and must haves.

Every stylish father and son's closet should include a list of wardrobe essentials that range from casual Friday staples to special occasion basics. The list isn’t very long, but the pieces are definite must-haves. Here’s a breakdown of those quintessential items that every dude needs to have in his closet:

The T-Shirt

No matter how you look at it, a few high-quality fitted tee's is arguably a very important piece in any man’s wardrobe. There’s nothing better than a crisp t-shirt that can be dressed up or down or even worn under a shirt. Nudie Jeans has mastered the art of the quality tee.

Taliored Jeans

What serves as the perfect match to that t-shirt? Slim fit or tapered jeans of course. Every man needs a pair of denim that fits like a glove. This isn’t the pair that lingers from years ago that you still haven’t altered; this pair is a prized possession within your denim collection. With the right jeans, you can dress up or down from the office to a night out with ease.


A cool pair of kicks is without a doubt a wardrobe staple for every man. These essential boots, boat shoes or sneakers should be on the simpler side, so you can wear them with any outfit. Think a sleek pair of Nikes, Red Wings or Sperrys. I your going for the drain pipe skinny jeans look however you could always try and pull off a pair of Chelsea boots.


A blue or black blazer is one of the most important pieces in any man’s closet. This closet must-have will have your back. No matter what look you’re going for, you’ll be winning with a modern cut blazer on hand at all times.

White Button Up Shirt

Does the white collared shirt even need to be mentioned? We couldn’t create an essentials list without out. Although it’s cool to reach for different colors and patterns, there’s nothing quite like the swag and sophistication of a fresh white shirt.

Fitted Suit

When it comes to suits, you should be prepared with one that is perfectly tailored and ready-to-go. If an impromptu fancy occasion rolls around, this suit is the one you’ll look to. Although black is an essential, aim for gray or blue for a more unique look.

The main thing John has want to pass down to Mr A is that you need to feel comfortable in your own skin and wear what makes you feel good even if it's different to the current trends. If you are comfortable you can be confident and if your confident you can own any look.

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Must See shows at The Sherman


If you live in or around Cardiff you will more than likely have heard about The Sherman Theatre - a fantastic place that helps develop and nurture Welsh and Wales based artists and provides a platform for them to showcase their productions in a professional and high production manner. We have been to this Theatre many times and have never been disappointed as it has something for everyone - amazing kids shows that are engaging and interactive to more serious dramatic and inspiring plays for a more adult audience.

This month we have been lucky enough to come along and review two very different productions that are currently running at The Sherman, the first being The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and the second  being The Princess and the Pea.

The Sherman Theatre

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

I have always loved CS Lewis fantastical stories of Narnia and other far flung lands so I was very excited to see this well known story adapted for the stage. The age recommendation for this was 7yrs and upwards although we did take Mr A who is 5 1/2 years as he loves the theatre and had a loose understanding of the story beforehand and throughly enjoyed it from start to finish although there are quite dark parts of it so for children who are slightly nervous I would perhaps not bring them along.

I would also like to say what a talented cast of 11 including all of which did a brilliant job in bringing their characters alive and took us through the journey of friendship, bravery and at heart a story of good prevailing over evil, bringing hope and spring to a land of winter, including a little cameo from Santa.

This is a real winter warming show that captures this time of the year perfectly in all it's festive glory. It runs until the 31st December and would make a great night out for families with tickets ranging from £15-25 and under 25s go half price.

Fairytale theatre

The Princess and the Pea

We have always enjoyed the kids shows at The Sherman as you never know what to expect as they are always full of fun, laughter and beautiful sets. This was also Baby G's first time to the Sherman and he sat watching intently through the whole production, as did all the kids, who were captured by the storytellers.

This is a beautiful musical comedy retelling of a well known fairytale and is very gentle and perfect for the younger members of your family and if you stuck for something to do this Christmas or you want to escape the rain this would make a great day out and you won't be disappointed. This performance ha showings that are in English or Welsh  all at family friendly times of the day and tickets are £8 and it's running until the 2nd of January.

We highly recommend both of these productions and you won't be disappointed from the cast to the wardrobe and stage production professionalism oozes from these shows and it's fantastic to see such amazing homegrown talent.

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Styling the Christmas table for Kids



Wooden plate

So this year we have one more plate to add to the table as this time last year I was heavily pregnant with Baby G and now he is here and gobbling down food with much enthusiasm. It's made me think how we can make the Christmas table a fun and interesting as well as a really child friendly place to sit and enjoy the festivities. 

I mentioned these super cute wooden kids plates from Blue Brontide in my Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide and cannot get enough of them and both the boys are going to have a surprise this Christmas day when they see them for the first time.

Christmas table

We really want to make them both feel comfortable and a part of the day so I thought I would share a few tips on how to make your Christmas table baby and child friendly.

1. Have fun with the table decorations, add lots of colour and don't put anything too precious within arms reach as you don't want any breakages dampening the day.

2. Make their seating area extra special by adding some cute plates, child friendly cutlery and drinking glasses such as a mason jar. Do make sure the eating area ha some decent lighting so kids can see what they are doing, especially if like us you are doing baby-led weaning.

3. Put together an alcohol-free punch or sparkling apple juice so they can join in with the "cheers", something my eldest loves to do.

4. Have some simple games such as playing cards or colouring in on hand to keep them at their seats while the adults finish their main and before dessert arrives. 

5. Just keep them involved, let them pull the first crackers and don't worry if they don't eat that much food due to all the excitement, the main thing is to enjoy the afternoon as much as possible. 

I honestly believe you cannot be to over prepared for Christmas and all the small touches are what make the day extra special. Lots of fresh cut holly and mistletoe add colour and a wonderful scent and tea lights well out of the way of little hands also add atmosphere and all you need then is good food, great company and lots of laughter.

Are you hosting a Christmas party or are you going to family and friends this year? 

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